UK Privacy Case
A former friend and employee of Loreena wrote a book entitled “Travels with Loreena McKennitt” which was self published in the UK in June 2005. Aside from containing numerous errors and distortions, the book was found to have compromised a confidentiality agreement and invaded Loreena’s privacy as it pertained to many matters, including her bereavement over her fiance’s death. There was a UK High Court trial in Nov 2005 , a judgment in Loreena’s favour on Dec 21, 2005, and a further Appeal hearing and favourable judgment on Dec 14, 2006. The House of Lords in March of 2007 decided also to let the original judgment of Justice Eady stand, by declining to hear further arguments after the Court of Appeal ruling also confirmed his first instance decision.
It is probably safe to say that many of you have come to this page from a variety of directions. Some of you will have stumbled on it out of curiosity or because of media coverage of the UK privacy case in which I have been involved. Others are perhaps taking a professional interest. From whatever your direction of interest, you are welcome.
BROADER LEGAL AND SOCIAL CONTEXT
In its own right, this is an important legal human rights story which stems out of the European Convention on Human Rights; in particular Articles 8 and 10, which address the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. It demands that the reader make the distinction between secrecy and privacy, as well as between what is in the public’s interest and what is serving their prurient curiosity.
It is also a ‘media culture’ story in that it reveals some of the pitfalls of a society which has become increasingly celebrity obsessed, sometimes to the point of harassment and stalking.
It is a story which causes one to reflect on the conflict of interest which arises from time to time when a story challenges corporate media’s commercial interests, as this one does, in terms of the tension between right to privacy and unfettered freedom of expression.
- Read The High Court judgment of December 21, 2005
- Read The Court Of Appeal judgment of December 14, 2006
LOREENA’S LETTERS OF CORRECTION & COMMENT
- Who Watches The Watchdog: A Tale of Media Privacy & the Cult of Celebrity by Loreena McKennitt (January 11, 2007) [171Kb PDF]
REFERENCE & LINKS
- European Convention on Human Rights
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Information Commissioner’s Office: “What price privacy?” (PDF)
- Carter-Ruck: Media and Human Rights Lawyers
- 5RB: Media and entertainment law
- Thomson Heath: Mark Thomson
- MCKENNITT PRIVACY CASE ENDS WITH SETTLEMENT (October 5th, 2007)
- HOUSE OF LORDS UPHOLDS LANDMARK COURT OF APPEAL DECISION ON PRIVACY (March 30th, 2007)
Oct 18, 2007
The Media, Mr. Greenslade & the Questions
It is probably safe to say that many of you have come to this page out of curiosity or because of media coverage of the landmark UK privacy case in which I have been involved these past 2 ½ years. Most recently some of you may have followed along on a blog site of Roy Greenslade, the UK Guardian commentator, media expert and educator who has reported at various times and places regarding this privacy case.
A Trivial Case that Could Hobble the Press, (The Evening Standard Aug 30-06)
Confusion as Lords Reject Authors Rights to Appeal, (The Guardian Mar 30-07)
“It’s my story – I should be able to tell it” (The Guardian April 9-07)
UK PRIVACY CASE HOMEPAGE
On Oct 5, the headline of Mr Greenslade’s Guardian blog was: Press Freedom the Loser as McKennitt wins.
As of Oct 13, 2007, the blog still remained on the Guardian web site although it is no longer possible to add your comment to this story on the Guardian site.
Naturally, as a freedom of expression supporter myself, not only as an artist but as a member of a society which has and continues to benefit from ‘press freedom’, I was interested to drill down into why he felt press freedom was the loser as well as why he had taken the approach he had in covering this case.
It was impossible for me to speak to this side of things while the legal process was still in motion. Only as of Oct 5, 2007 (when the whole matter was settled with Ms. Ash), have I been in a position to set the record straight regarding a number of factual errors and misrepresentations propagated in the media, and in particular by Mr. Greenslade, and also to share with the public what I feel are the broader issues at stake. I took the opportunity of Mr. Greenslade’s blog to do both, perhaps at a little expense of my dignity.
At some point I would welcome the opportunity to engage Mr. Greenslade in a public forum (and you can check back here from time to time to see how we are making out on that front) In doing so, I hope to lend my voice to a wider discussion of how privacy, the cult of celebrity and the media intersect. Of particular concern to me is the matter of media accountability – a media which is often corporately owned and commercially driven and whose influence undeniably affects our collective cultures, societies and democracies. I must also state that I am aware that this has indeed been a concern of Mr. Greenslade’s in the past, so we begin on a nice point of consensus.
If you would like to contribute any comments we invite you to visit the Greenslade blog or share your comments by email at email@example.com. Naturally we would be interested to learn of other events of organisations championing the same issue.
Thank you for your interest and support.
- Visit Mr. Greenslade’s BLOG
- Read: “Who Watches the Watchdog” (PDF) an open letter to Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail: January 11, 2007